Tuesday, 23 April 2013
For the last few weeks the SwinGrowers have been touring the USA and Canada. Despite lots of travelling and plenty of gigs, they took the time out to have a chat with me. I have been interested to see how long it would take for electro-swing to really take off in the States, especially given the rise of EDM (ptui!) and the debates it has provoked both in the States and in the wider dance music world. The reception these guys get should provide a good barometer or litmus test. [Jack the Cad - bringing you not one but two clichéd metaphors to choose from]
For those who don't know them the SwinGrowers are an Italian outfit, consisting of DJ/producer Roberto Pisk, vocalist Loredana, and manouche guitarist Alessio. They hail from Sicily, but have been touring hard. Their album "Pronounced Swing Grow'ers" came out last year and was one of my top 5 releases of the year.
The tour has seen them drop in on Speakeasy Electro Swing Montreal, the longest running electro-swing night in North America, and other venues in San Francisco, New York and a host of other glamourous places.The first thing I wanted to know was how they have been getting on in the land which gave us swing music in the first place. "Everything is going great!" they tell me enthusiastically. They say they have been shown fantastic hospitality, great support from the promoters and a lot of pampering. Montreal has been the highlight so far: " There is a big electro-swing crowd there, and the whole audience was there to see the SwinGrowers. In any case, the cities where we have been have all been great because each one is different from the other and because they are all completely different from home. Here, everything is a surprise."
North Americans, in the eyes of lots of Europeans, have taken a while to really appreciate dance music, so I wanted to know how audiences have reacted to their sound. Happily, it seems they have been well received. "We have had nothing but positive reactions! At the end of every show people we get loads of compliments. There are parts in the show where people go crazy: when Pisk sings with the vocoder, or during Alessio's solos, or when Loredana gets the audience dancing." They must have done something right as their New York show sold out.
And how do the crowds across the water compare to those in the UK? Favourably, it would seem: "The U.S. audience is giving us lots of feedback. It is an interactive audience that receives and then gives it back. If we wanted to compare the U.S. and the UK crowds, we can say that they are very similar! Both warm and active. The only difference perhaps is that in the UK we are always inside of Europe, so we can say that we are "at home", whereas in the U.S. and CANADA we are on the other side of the ocean, so people are really excited to find the Italians on stage!"
We can see what they are talking about in this fantastically cool little video of Lore doing her thing in Tompkins Square Park in the NYC.
At the time of writing they have two gigs left in North America: Toronto on Friday 26th April and 27th April in Detroit. Having said that, they also promise further dates to be added, so keep an eye on their Facebook page if you are in that part of the world.
One thing I forgot to ask them... when will you be back in the UK guys?